the pope vs islam

the pope made some disparaging remarks about islam in a speach to the university of regensburg. pope benedict repeatedly quoted 14th century byzantine emperor manuel ii palaeologus, who wrote that everything the prophet mohammed brought was evil and inhuman, that "such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." benedit added, that "violence is incompatible with the nature of god and the nature of the soul."

well, his comments aren't going over too well in the muslim world, as you would probably expect. some are calling for a written apology, with one muslim leader, syed ahmed bukhari, the chief cleric of one of india's largest mosques telling muslims to "respond in a manner which forces the pope to apologize." he did not elaborate on this statement. there have already been some protests in gaza city as a result of the pope's speach.

the only thing i can say about this, is that the pope is treading on some very dangerous ground. those that are defending him say that either he is calling it like it is, or he is at least inviting dialogue and discussion on the matter. regardless, it is absolutely assinine for a person of his stature to say such things in such a way. not even george bush has said something that silly about islam.

what muslim leaders should do at this point, is to call for a non-violent response and rebuttal to the pope's speach. if violence does erupt over this, and muslim leaders are either aiding or not opposing the violence, it would only confirm the suspicions of people who consider islam to be a violent religion. it would prove to them that followers of islam are incapable of entering a debate without resorting to violence.

we'll see what the future brings.

(source 1) (source 2)